Food Security Framework | Key Population Groups
Food security terminology emerged in Afghanistan in the late 1990s and is still evolving. A comprehensive national framework for understanding food security that includes multiple indicators does not exist. Nonetheless, two indicators have been used for assessing food insecurity in Afghanistan: 1) food consumption, and 2) dietary diversity. Food consumption looks at the quantity of food eaten over a seven day period, while dietary diversity measures the quality of food eaten over a seven day period. Generally, people tend to know what they eat instead how much they eat. Therefore, FEWS NET Afghanistan chose to use the dietary diversity indicator in its analysis.
- Based on the latest dietary diversity data from the NRVA 2005, 24 percent of the Afghan population has very poor diversity in their food consumption. This figure includes 15 percent of urban, 25.8 percent of rural, and 38.3 percent of nomad populations. The rural areas with very poor food consumption are Day Kundi, Bamyan, Nuristan, Ghor, Uruzgan, Zabul and Nimroz Provinces, as described below:
- More than 80 percent of Day Kundi?s population has very poor food consumption.
- Bamyan and Nuristan's populations have the second highest poor food consumption at 61-80 percent.
- Ghor, Uruzgan, Zabul, and Nimroz Provinces have the third highest poor food consumption at 41-60 percent (see map on the next page).
- In addition to NRVA 2005 dietary diversity findings, the 2003 dietary diversity findings were similar in the above mentioned provinces except for Nuristan and Nimroz. The consistency of 2005 and 2003 NRVA data and other previous food security assessments indicate that food insecurity in the these provinces is not transitory but chronic. Therefore, FEWS NET Afghanistan refers to it as a chronic problem.
- Stunting, which primarily results from lack of access to food over a long period of time, is at the highest level in Afghanistan: 2004 nutrition data indicate more than half (54 percent) of preschool age Afghan children are stunted and 36 percent underweight.
- In addition to the 24 percent chronically food insecure population, 2.5 million people in northern Afghanistan have been affected by the 2006 drought. The severity of the drought is more evident in the northwestern provinces (Ghor, Badghis, Faryab, Sari Pul, and Jawzjan) and Samangan Province, which is located in the north of Afghanistan, where recently wheat prices reached their highest level, Afs 16/kg.
- Civil insecurity in southern Afghanistan is further deteriorating the already bad food security situation, and has forced 8,000-9,000 people from their villages to IDP camps (figures are yet be confirmed). People flee their homes for three reasons: 1) they lost their houses due to bombardment, 2) the Taliban use them as human shill, and 3) they can access aid in the IDP camps.
- Daily construction labor, which is a major source of income in southern and central highlands, has fallen off significantly in the current year due to of lack of investment in that area. This trend is likely to continue at least in the near future, which will have a significant impact on the food security situation.
- Access to potable water is also problematic, especially in north, northwestern, and southwest Afghanistan.
- The Government of Iran plans to deport around 1.5 million Afghans refugees. This would have tremendous negative implication on Afghan food security, both food availability and access, especially at this time when food prices are increasing and availability of employment opportunities and basic needs is limited.